Monday, August 24, 2009

Another face!

Just because he makes me happy!


I go back to school on Wednesday. Which means I won't sleep for the next two nights, heck, I didn't sleep much last night :( I never sleep before school starts. Too many things to think about, too many new plans. I already have two meetings scheduled before the kids get back. I am sure they will be good meetings, but they always make me feel anxious. I have big plans to be better organized this year. I was better last year, so hopefully I can continue the trend. We have a new student, which means we have to stretch ourselves a little more thinly. Speaking of "thin", don't you think with the amount of running around I have to do in my class, I would lose weight? I never do though, sigh.

I have done lots of reading about other people's classrooms. I have applied for a grant for some new equipment, first time I have ever tried that.

I hope we have a good year.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Who wouldn't love this face?

Here is a picture of adorable grandson, Jackson. He just turned 9 months old last week and he is already walking! Mommy is in for a lot of work, lol. Nana gets to sit back and enjoy. Grandchildren are wonderful!

It's coming...

The new school year, I mean. A week from today I start making that long trek (one hour and 20 minutes, one way) to school. The kids don't start until after Labor Day and because of budget cut backs I don't have to take all those pre- school sessions which means I get to spend more time in my classroom (Yay!) I am very happy, though, that they (the county) have scheduled teaching sessions for para professionals, something really needed. My aides had a good time last year selecting which sessions they would be attending.

This year, just like every other year, I want to have a great year. I want my students to learn a lot and I want them to be healthy and happy. This year it looks like I will have the same two paras I had last year! That makes life so much easier when you don't have to train new personnel. Working in my classroom necessitates a very steep learning curve. First you have to learn how to deal with all of the physical/medical issues; g tubes, seizures, feeding, diaper changing, toilet training. Then you have to learn about behavioral issues particular to each child. We have one new student this year and I am looking forward to learning about him/her (not going to specify because of privacy issues) and he/she fits into the rest of the class. And then if you have never taught children with intellectual disabilities before, you need to learn effective practices for teaching children who learn in diffferent ways.

I have great plans for well, great plans, lol and organization, organization, organization :) We'll see how it goes this year, but I do have good intentions (yeah, I know "the road to *%$ # is paved with..)

Regardless, I love my job.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Continuing education....

Well, as I have said before (I think), I am taking an online class this summer on using technology in the classroom. Unfortunately, the class is going on right in the middle of my vacation (2 weeks in Florida, including the ASF conference). It's never fun to do "homework" while you are supposed to be on vacation, but this is the beauty of online learning, you can do the work when it's convenient for you.

This week we learned about streaming video and podcasts. As usual I am having to think outside the box in order to figure out how I am going to use these tools with my students. Since at this point, anyway, they are all non verbal, I don't think we are going to be able to do podcasts. And with streaming video most of the available video is not on a level appropriate for my students. I am thinking though, that making videos of my students for my students may be a valuable way for them to learn and relearn new skills. I am specifically thinking of when they are in the community, choosing food from a menu, picking groceries off of shelves and paying for items. This could also be a great way to learn social skills. Maybe I can use some of their peers to "act out"some of the social skills I would like my students to learn.

Thank goodness that like my students, teachers never stop learning!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Joy and enlightenment

I am still attending the Angelman Syndrome Conference here in Orlando. Today I saw 3 sessions. One was on advocacy with Jackie Golden, the resource person for the ASF. Her son Joshua lives in his own house and a microboard has been formed to help him create a full and meaningful life. The second was on creating friendships for people with special needs and the third was on Andreas Yuan a 35 year old man and how he exists socially in this world, done by his Mother, Susan Yuan. The answer to how he does socially in this world is "beautifully". I will have to admit to a few tears during his Mother's presentation, tears of joy.

All 3 of these presentations made me rethink about my role as a teacher. I think I am probably not doing enough for my students and I need to get out of my comfortable rut and push myself to do some more work on myself as a teacher. I need to think more about using literacy in my classroom, using peers with my students and pushing for more inclusion. I do advocate for my students, but not loudly enough.

That's what I love about these conferences. They keep me from getting complacent. And as Susan Yuan reminded us, always "make the least dangerous assumption". I needed to be reminded of that.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

On vacation, working on technology lesson

Yesterday we finally got to Orlando (well Davenport) Florida. It took us two extra hours because I-95 was packed and there was construction. My main reason for coming was to attend the Angelman Syndrome Conference, but since my husband and I have never been to Florida before we decided to add in a vacation as well. So we rented a small house with a small pool for two weeks .

I am looking forward to spending time at the conference both learning new skills from some of the foremost authorities on Angelman Syndrome and meeting with people (parents, children and siblings) I know or know of from the Angleman listserve and lately from Facebook. Since I originally met my husband online, I have a lot of faith in knowing people from the purely verbal aspect as opposed to the physical one. It's nice though, to put a face with the personality!

I am also taking a class this summer on learning and teaching with Web 2.0 tools., which is one of the reasons I got back to this blog. I am taking the class online ( I do a lot online!) which is very convenient since you can work on it when and as you can. The information we are learning is interesting and exciting and it's always helpful to see what your colleagues are doing. My biggest problem is using the material with my students since they don't really have the skills necessary. However, you never know what you and your students can do until you try! It should be interesting :)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Long time, no blog

As stated above, I haven't blogged here for quite a while and probably wouldn't be if not for a class I am taking. :)

It's summertime again and we had an above ground pool put in our backyard. Pure bliss for my 52 year old body particularly after another year of working with my much loved but getting bigger by the day students. We still have the landscaping to do around the pool, but it will be well worth it when it's done.

I just finished a weekend of respite for one of my students. Another opportunity to look at life from another perspective and another opportunity to gain more respect for the parents who do this 24/7. I enjoyed myself, but was exhausted having to always be "one".

In two weeks time I will be leaving for 2 weeks in Florida. I chose Florida this year because I wanted to attend the biennial Angelman Syndrome Conference in Orlando. There looks like there will be some wonderful speakers and I will get to meet and remeet some of the parents I am familiar with on the Angelman Syndrome Listserve. Of all of the listserves I have ever been on they are some of the most active and knowledgeable parents I have ever "met". I look forward to the social aspect as well. We are renting a house near Orlando so that my husband can enjoy some alone time while I go to the conference :)

If you are interested in meeting a really charismatic and knowledgeable person in the field of disabilities and advocacy, check out the blog "Rolling Around in My Head" by Dave Hingsberger. You will be happy you did. I had the honor of attending one of his talks at a TASH conference many years ago and never forgot the impact he made on me.